Adds details from the letter
Aug 4 (Reuters) - A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general on Tuesday urged the U.S. government to use its legal authority to increase the availability and lower the price of Gilead Sciences' GILD.O COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir.
Gilead has priced remdesivir, the antiviral drug at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic, at $2,340 per patient for wealthier nations and said will charge U.S. patients with commercial insurance, $3,120 per course, or $520 per vial.
The United States signed a deal with Gilead in June for more than 500,000 courses of the treatment, which shortened hospital recovery time in a U.S. trial, making up most of the company's output through September.
In a letter sent to the U.S. health agencies, the coalition led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra urged the federal government to ensure Americans can afford and have reasonable access to sufficient supply of remdesivir during this pandemic.
Under the Bayh-Dole Act, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have the authority to license remdesivir to third-party manufacturers to scale up production and distribution and ensure its availability at a reasonable price, according to the letter.
Gilead was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)
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